Lucy Jarvis: Even Stones Have Life
Writing early in 1962, Lucy Jarvis said she felt “just at the threshold of beginning”. At 65, more than 30 years after her studies at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, she still felt constrained by that academic training and frustrated in her desire to express the immediacy of her responses to the world.
Much of the preceding two decades had been given over – heart and soul – to the UNB Art Centre, co-founded in 1940 with Pegi Nicol MacLeod, which became the cultural heart of a community as yet unserved by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery or the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design (NBCC&D). She had made it a place to experience all the arts, with evenings of music from recordings, poetry readings, marionette shows, talks and art classes for adults and on Saturdays for children, and, of course, exhibitions. Casual and welcoming to students, it became a place of creative ferment. But in her drive to make creativity available to all, Jarvis had little time to pursue her own.
After leaving the Art Centre in 1960 – and the role that defines her to many – she challenged herself to grow artistically. She made four extended trips to Europe, mostly to work and study in Paris, though brief attendance at a workshop with Oscar Kokoschka had great impact. She immersed herself in French, met other artists and attended the studios of Andre Lhote and L’Académie de la Grande Chaumière. Summers she returned to her studio at Pembroke Dyke near Yarmouth to digest these experiences. Through the 1960s and 70s her art evolved, becoming more boldly colourful, freer - more completely her own. Experiments in oil pastel and water colour fill her sketchbooks. The energies that had animated the Art Centre now coursed through her work.
Two complementary exhibitions focus on this later vibrant period – allowing for a new assessment of the art of Lucy Jarvis. Running from September 12 to October 31, the UNB Art Centre presents a sampling of her more than 70 sketchbooks, as well as letters, photographs and memorabilia, while her key works in oil, water colour and pastel are featured at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.
Curator: Roslyn Rosenfeld
Organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and the UNB Art Centre with the support of the friends and family of Lucy Jarvis.